Medieval Rings

les Enluminures
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Twisted Band Ring

England, 15th-16th century

Silver

  • 2.200 €
  • £2,000
  • $2,500
  • Twisted Band Ring

    England, 15th-16th century
    Silver
    Weight 2.9 gr.; circumference 51.9 mm.; US size 6, UK size M

    This beautiful, wearable ring consists of a spiral-grooved hoop. The decorated band is typical of medieval iconographic rings fabricated in England made in both silver and gold. Such rings were also used as wedding bands, as might have been the case with this ring.

    Description
    The wide silver hoop is slightly rounded inside with an original solder point and twisted and beaded on the outer side. Between one of the grooves on the outer side are two out-of-place beads where a punch was apparently hammered in the wrong position. The ring is in good wearable condition.

    Literature
    This type of twisting, fluted band is common to devotional or iconographic rings bearing figures of saints, as in two gold rings and one silver ring at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (gold rings inv. no. M.211-1975 and inv. no. 692-1871, the latter published in Oman 1930, cat. 729; the silver ring inv. no. M.818-1926, published in Oman 1930, cat. 725).

    Reference number: 496

  • Band

    A ring made from a thin, often flat, ribbon-like strip of material (usually metal). The band can be unadorned or decorated.

  • Renaissance & Baroque

    Considerable evidence exists concerning the making and wearing of rings in the Renaissance. Their appearance in painted portraits confirms that they continued to be worn on multiple fingers, suspended from chains and ribbons, sewn onto sleeves or hats, and so forth. When not worn they were sometimes stored on parchment rolls or in neatly compartmentalized boxes, known from documents and paintings. In the Renaissance, the medieval practice of using uncut stones was abandoned in favor of faceting; table-cut facets were among the earliest and most popular, but other cuts rapidly followed. Making rings that would show off best the qualities of the stone became a skill that exercised the virtuosity of cutters, chasers, engravers, enamellers, and goldsmiths sometimes in collaboration. The highly sculpturesque quality of most Renaissance and Baroque rings can be compared with the striving for greater veracity that characterizes the monumental arts of this period.

    By far the most common type of ring from the Renaissance was the boxed bezel set with faceted stones in highly ornate geometric bezels with intricate articulated shoulders, sometimes with protruding volutes, the whole richly enameled. Surviving drawings for rings by sixteenth-century goldsmith-designers Etienne Delaune, Pierre Woeiriot, and René Boyvin record variations on this type. Often reviving classical subjects and motifs, numerous cameos and intaglios also date from this era, produced under illustrious, often princely, patronage. By the sixteenth century the careers of famous gem-cutters can be reconstructed; they include Valerio Belli, Alessandro Cesati, Alessandro Masnago, and Francesco Torino. However, few Renaissance cameos and intaglios appear in their original mounts, because they were often made not as rings but rather as virtuoso carvings, kept in drawers in cabinets and taken out and admired by Renaissance princes.

    During Elizabethan and Tudor times in England, commonplace books (the earliest dated 1596) were used by goldsmiths and their customers to provide appropriate inscriptions for rings. References to posy rings (from “poésie” or poetry) abound in literature of the period; for example, in Shakespeare's Hamlet (III, ii, 162): “Is this a prologue, or the posy of a ring.” The discovery of the New World also wrought changes in the evolution of rings, as it did for painting, because new stones became available. The newly prized diamond, expensive then as now, was often imitated by the similarly favored rock crystal. Extensive surviving pictorial evidence is useful because it contributes to a more precise dating and localization of rings from this era.

     

  • ring
  • ring
ring

Twisted Band Ring

England, 15th-16th century
Silver
Weight 2.9 gr.; circumference 51.9 mm.; US size 6, UK size M

USD $2,500

This beautiful, wearable ring consists of a spiral-grooved hoop. The decorated band is typical of medieval iconographic rings fabricated in England made in both silver and gold. Such rings were also used as wedding bands, as might have been the case with this ring.

Description
The wide silver hoop is slightly rounded inside with an original solder point and twisted and beaded on the outer side. Between one of the grooves on the outer side are two out-of-place beads where a punch was apparently hammered in the wrong position. The ring is in good wearable condition.

Literature
This type of twisting, fluted band is common to devotional or iconographic rings bearing figures of saints, as in two gold rings and one silver ring at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (gold rings inv. no. M.211-1975 and inv. no. 692-1871, the latter published in Oman 1930, cat. 729; the silver ring inv. no. M.818-1926, published in Oman 1930, cat. 725).

Reference number: 496